Health Psychology PhD

Qualification name
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Fact file

3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject
6.5 (no lower than 6.0 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
October, December, February, April, July
Jubilee Campus
Other requirements



This PhD is for anyone who is interested in the scientific study of psychological processes relevant to health, illness and healthcare.

You may be a recent graduate of an MSc Health Psychology (or similar) or a Chartered Psychologist or Registered Health Psychologist.

Available topics

Health psychology is a broad and ever changing branch of psychology and we will consider all well thought out and relevant ideas and topics.

However, we particularly encourage applications that map closely on to the expertise of its members:

  • Placebo effect/patient expectations
  • Role of psychological factors in wound healing
  • Role of psychological factors in disease vulnerability or disease progression
  • Role of illness beliefs in chronic illness
  • Role of treatment beliefs in treatment outcomes
  • Psychological and physiological assessment of distress
  • Online behaviour change interventions
  • Online support and social networking in relation to health and illness
  • E-health and the role of the Internet in healthcare
  • Applying psychology to the dental context
  • Role of the internet in dentistry
  • Children’s conceptions of dental health and disease
  • Informal carers of individuals living with chronic illness




International collaboration 

Your work will be supported by a dedicated postgraduate environment, which is informed and, in part, sustained through active international collaboration and cutting-edge research that is relevant to a range of careers.

In terms of international collaboration, the division has a department at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and is a member of the Topic Centre programme in occupational health and safety for the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. It hosts the Centre of Organisational Health & Development that is a designated Collaborating Centre in Occupational Health of the World Health Organization. It is a founding member of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology and hosts its journal, Work and Stress.

IT facilities

All full-time Mphil/PhD students have access to their personal work station. They are providing with facilities for printing and photocopying. Part-time students also have access to ‘hot desk’ facilities.

The University provides students with access to general IT facilities through a number of computer rooms spread across its campuses. These rooms are conveniently located in all University libraries and in various other locations across the University. 

The majority of computer rooms are open to all members of the University and contain PC workstations and printing facilities. In some of the larger rooms, more specialised equipment is provided, such as text and image scanners, colour printing and high powered Unix workstations.

Most computer rooms are open 24-hours a day, though access out of core times will require a valid smart card to gain entry through the door access system. For security and safety purposes, these areas are monitored by closed circuit television.

Once registered, students of the University can connect their own PCs to the University's data network from their study bedrooms. They can also access IT services and facilities when working away from the University.


Research support

You will be allocated a supervisory package based on the topic of your PhD and this will normally have a main supervisor from the Health Psychology Research Group (Dr Neil Coulson and Dr Heather Buchanan). You may also be allocated a secondary supervisor from the wider School of Medicine.

Training is very much at the discretion of the student and their supervisor, but a number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond:

  • The Postgraduate Students' Association (PGSA) are a particularly important source of support.
  • The Graduate School offers a wide range of courses specifically for postgraduate research students, and Professional Development provides postgraduates with teacher training.
  • The Methods and Data Institute also provides both specific training courses in methods and also drop-in advice sessions for postgraduates.
  • Training is also available within the division.  This takes the form of regular research seminars, methods workshops, and the opportunity to attend appropriate lectures and modules run by the division.



Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. Use our search to find a supervisor whose expertise matches your own research interests.

Fees and funding

We appreciate that many potential PhD students may not have sufficient funds to see their way through a PhD. However, a variety of sources of funding exist for which both UK/EU and International students may be eligible to apply. Supervisors provide assistance and guidance in helping students to complete applications for competitive scholarships.

The University of Nottingham offers advice on funding opportunities that are available to UK/EU and international students, to support fee payment and living costs while you study. 

Find out more

See also the following for some of the postgraduate funding opportunities available for UK, EU and international students.



Government loans for doctoral study

The Government recently introduced doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 93% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Medicine & Health Services who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,925 with the highest being £70,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research

Health Psychology PhD

Get in touch

+44 (0)115 846 6642 
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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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School of Medicine
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